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Top Ten Movies to Watch Before Law School

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD | Last updated on

So, you think you want to go to law school and become a lawyer? Before making such a big decision, and potentially take on a lot of student debt, it's a good idea to do some research. And, what better way to do research than to watch movies?

Gear up your Netflix account, grab a tub of popcorn and get to watching these movies -- you'll learn lots of valuable information ...

1. The Paper Chase

The quintessential law school movie, The Paper Chase depicts the tough contracts professor that most law schools boast. You'll see the Socratic Method at work and learn the importance of an outline. Lesson: "You come in here with a skull full of mush and you leave thinking like a lawyer."

2. Legally Blonde

The first part of the movie is a primer in how not apply for, or dress in law school. As Elle Woods gains her footing, her clothing decisions are much more professional. Lesson: don't judge a book by its cover.

3. My Cousin Vinny

This is one of our favorite movies. The entire film centers on Joe Pesci as a trial lawyer, and is a pretty good example of what not to do. This movie would be nothing without Marisa Tomei's several, quote-worthy memorable scenes. Lesson: the importance of good expert testimony.

4. Rounders

Matt Damon plays a law student/gambler that needs to pay back a huge gambling debt. Lesson: just study, don't gamble.

5. The Firm

Tom Cruise discovers the dark side of a law firm he works for. Lesson: um, how about don't work for a firm like this.

6. Philadelphia

Tom Hanks plays an attorney with AIDS that is fired by his conservative law firm and Denzel Washington plays his attorney, who starts out homophobic and then learns a big lesson. Lesson: your work can change you.

7. To Kill a Mockingbird

Gregory Peck plays Atticus Finch, the lawyer we all aspire to be. Lesson: race unfortunately plays a part in trials. Even fifty years later.

8. 12 Angry Men

Today this movie would be more aptly named 12 Angry Men and Women. Lessons: (1) that a mere fifty-five years ago women weren't allowed on juries (WHAT?!); and (2) an inside look at jury deliberations.

9. Erin Brokovich

Julia Roberts plays a fast-talking single mother who fights the good fight. Lesson: sometimes you need a legal assistant that will talk back to you.

10. A Few Good Men

Tom Cruise plays a military lawyer that has to ask the hard questions. Lesson: "You can't handle the truth!"

There are many more lawyer movies out there -- we're curious to know which ones inspired you to go to law school. Tweet us @FindLawLP and let us know!

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